Alameda

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened this week.

Alameda police have dropped arson charges against one of the two men accused of setting a string of fires on and around Park Street on September 28. Police said Stephen Petersen, 27, of Alameda has been eliminated as a suspect in the fires based on evidence collected over the past several weeks.

When my family was still living in Los Angeles Dodgers “enemy” territory near the team’s old Chavez Ravine Stadium in Los Feliz, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, my parents would drive us up to San Francisco about once a year to see all the amazing sights – including the city’s Playland at the Beach, which was everyone’s favorite. Playland was radically different from our own amusement parks on the water, Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica and Long Beach’s Queen’s Park (a.k.a. The Pike). Sadly, an even grander global escape, Alameda’s Neptune Beach Park and Resort, was torn down before I was born.

Some of today’s younger Alamedans may be familiar with Neptune Beach through nostalgically named organizations and events like the Neptune Beach Pearls baseball organization and the Neptune Beach Community Celebration, the great annual block party event held along Webster Street, along with some landmark signs at Alameda South Shore Center that pay the old amusement park tribute. But what was Neptune Beach, and was it really known all over the world?

It certainly was, recalled by several people who I interviewed as “the greatest beach resort spot on the West Coast.” And it was right here on the West End.

Alameda's Board of Education okayed a new elementary charter school Tuesday night. The school, which will be opened and operated by managers of the existing Academy of Alameda charter, is set to open kindergarten and first grade classes next fall.

"Tonight's vote is a validation of a lot of hard work motivated by our strong, heartfelt desire to to serve even more students starting at an earlier age in an effort to create a model Kindergarten through 8th grade program," The Academy's director, Matt Huxley, wrote in an e-mail to the middle school charter's families after winning approval on a 3-1 vote.

With the holidays approaching, the Alameda Food Bank and local Scouts are beginning preparations to assist needy Island families. The food bank kicks off its annual turkey drive on Friday, while the Scouts’ Scouting for Food collection effort is set for November 15.

Updated at 5:16 p.m. Thursday, October 30 in BOLD

With Election Day less than a week away – and formal campaign finance disclosure deadlines safely behind us – independent groups are unleashing tens of thousands of dollars to fund a mountain of last-minute mailers touting (or trashing) local candidates and ballot measures.

On October 3-4, Woodside High School hosted 38 local teams in the annual off-season FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). FIRST promotes robotics and engineering in schools around the world. The organization allows students in elementary school, middle school, and high school, as well as adults, to compete in robotics at levels from local to international.

Alameda’s ASTI Aztechs, Team 4186, participated in the competition’s high school division.

A 72-year-old Alameda man is facing a murder charge in the shooting death of his wife.

The Planning Board is set on Monday to consider signing off on a parking plan for the proposed redevelopment of the Del Monte warehouse.

The parking plan and changes intended to make the streets that surround the Del Monte more bicycle and pedestrian friendly are all that remain subject to the Planning Board’s okay. The City Council is expected to consider final approvals for the development proposal on December 2.

A federal judge who ruled earlier this month that a bankrupt California city’s pensions can be cut like any of its other debts is set to consider a contested exit plan that doesn’t contain pension cuts on October 30.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein ruled on October 1 that Stockton’s pension obligations aren’t more sacred than any other debt the city owes, clearing the way for potential cuts. But city leaders argued in court that they don’t want to cut pensions, fearing that cuts would impact the city’s ability to retain and recruit workers.